Explore Tompkins' trails with ease with new website

Tour at Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Cornell Botanic Gardens and partner organizations have launched a new website designed to help outdoor enthusiasts find and take the perfect trail to walk, hike, bike, ski or even horseback ride. “Out on the Trails”at IthacaTrails.org is a GPS-enabled, mobile-optimized site that maps all of the trails in Tompkins County, and invites users to search by the experience they seek. Criteria include distance, difficulty, scenic views, wildlife viewing or picnicking, and also access directions to trailheads and information on parking.

 “Our county boasts 240 miles of public trails, but since they span 15 different organizations, many residents and visitors find trail information in bits and pieces,” says Todd Bittner, director of natural areas at the Cornell Botanic Gardens and one of the key grant managers. “The beauty of the new “Out on the Trails” website is that it provides comprehensive information on all the trails, regardless of ownership.”

The site links to each partner organization’s website for more information on the organization and its park or trail. With appealing descriptions, photographs and a clean user-friendly layout, the site is designed to encourage users to explore the County's outdoor recreation offerings more deeply.

The Cornell Botanic Gardens maintains 32 miles of trails through its natural areas. The Cayuga Trail, which spans from Fall Creek Gorge eastward, then circumnavigates its Monkey Run Natural Area, is a 10 mile-trail, maintained in partnership with the Cayuga Trails Club. “The website also leads you to hikes in some of our lesser known natural areas such as Edwards Lake Cliffs, Fischer Old-growth Forest, and Ellis Hollow Wetlands,” Bittner says..

The Cornell Botanic Gardens and its trail partners are offering hikes during the month of April to celebrate local trails and the launch of the new website. On April 23, the botanic gardens hosts an Earth Day Hike with the Cayuga Trails Club on the Cayuga Trail. And on April 29, Bittner will lead a hike in the Fischer Old-Growth Forest (registration required), the best of the few remaining examples of pre-European settlement forest in the region.

Additional April hikes by partner organizations include Roy H. Park Preserve;  Cayuga Waterfront Trail; Black Diamond Trail; Stevenson Preserve;  and Jim Schug Trail. Details available at IthacaEvents.com.

IthacaTrails.org is a partnership of the Tompkins County Parks and Trails Network. Partner organizations include the Cornell Botanic Gardens, Town of Ulysses, Tompkins County Tourism Program, Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability , Ithaca Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, NY State Parks, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Ithaca College Natural Lands, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, City of Ithaca, Town of Ithaca, Town of Lansing, Town of Dryden, Town of Danby, the Nature Conservancy, and user groups, including Bike Walk Tompkins, the Cayuga Trails Club, and Finger Lakes Trails Conference.